Win While You Wait
Win While You Wait
Sarah Blount | Co-Pastor | New Song Church | Oklahoma City, OK
Waiting is hard. Some people—like Tom Petty, for instance—will tell you waiting is the hardest part. Red lights, lines at Starbucks, the doctor’s office, waiting for your dead phone to come back to life: no one really enjoys these things. But you know as well as I do that waiting is just part of life, and with that being the case, I think one of the most valuable things we can learn in life is knowing how to win while we wait.
My husband Josh and I have been married nearly 14 years and our number one, most favorite thing to do together is eat good food. We plan date nights and vacations around restaurants. For anniversaries and Valentine’s Day, I’ll take an amazing plate of food to jewelry or roses any day. I’ve learned over the years that the better the restaurant, the longer the wait. Take Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, for example. Oprah declared back in 2006 that Chris Bianco made the best slice of pizza in America, so of course we had to try it. We arrived on a Tuesday night around 7:00, thinking we would walk right in, but no. I should have known there would be a huge wait since Oprah was involved. We waited for two hours. Now you may be wondering, “Weren’t you tempted to jump out of line?” Absolutely not! We had made up our minds that what we were waiting for was worth the wait. We filled those two hours with great conversation and dozens of games of hangman by tea light. It made for one of the sweetest, most memorable dates I’ve ever been on.
To win while you wait, you must determine that what you are waiting for is worth it, because if you aren’t sure, you’ll be tempted to jump out of line and you’ll miss out, not only on the end goal, but on all that God wants to do in you and through you along the way.
In Genesis, chapter 29, the Holy Spirit gives us a glimpse into the diary of Jacob. He falls madly in love with a woman named Rachel. They share a kiss so passionate it brings Jacob to tears. Ugly tears. He knows right away that he wants to spend the rest of his life with this girl. Jacob has a, “why you gotta be so rude, I’m gonna marry her anyway” talk with Rachel’s father Laban and agrees to work for him for seven years in exchange for Rachel’s hand in marriage. Seven years—2,555 days! That is a long time to wait for something, but take a look at verse 20:
So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.
Jacob had made up his mind that this was the girl he wanted. He determined she was worth the wait. His passion was so intense for her that 2,555 days to him, only seemed like a few.
True love waits. Do you love what you’re waiting for? Do you love that God-given dream you want to see become a reality? Do you love that promise from God you are hanging on to? Don’t let your passion fade as the time passes, or the time will only pass more slowly.
After Jacob fulfilled his end of the bargain and the time for the wedding feast had arrived, Laban tricked him into marrying Rachel’s sister, Leah.
At this point, you would think Jacob would just throw in the towel and say forget it, I don’t want anything to do with this crazy family…but, Rachel! He loved her too much to move on. He agrees to work another seven years! He ends up marrying Rachel a week later, but he still must fulfill his seven years of service to Laban.
I don’t think the next seven years went by so quickly for Jacob. He was married to two dueling, dramatic, emotional sisters, kids were crawling all over their crowded apartment, and instead of making a name for himself, he was stuck slaving away for his deceitful father-in-law. This isn’t the life he had imagined when he kissed Rachel that day by the well. Did anything good come out of this season of waiting? Did he chalk up any wins? Was there a purpose to this process?
In the second seven-year waiting period, Jacob fathers 12 sons. Not under ideal circumstances, but from those 12 sons came the 12 tribes of Israel—one of those tribes being the tribe of Judah.
Hebrews 7:14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah.
Jesus, our Lord, came from the line of Judah! Judah was Leah’s son, the sister Jacob never intended to marry. There was indeed a purpose to the process; God was at work in the waiting!
I’m sure it was hard for Jacob to see purpose in that seven-year stretch, but since we have the whole story, it’s obvious to us. While Jacob’s life seemed to be on pause, God was putting the pieces of a rescue story together behind the scenes.
Since the fourth grade it’s been my heart’s desire to be a mom. I confused many a guidance counselor when I told them I wasn’t applying to college because I just knew God had a different course for my life. The thing about choosing motherhood as your career path, though, is you need to have some kids to mother. Even though I got married really young, we waited five years to start our family. So what was I to do while I waited to step into my life-long dream of being a mom? I simply did whatever God placed in front of me. I worked the front desk at a small tax firm for several years. I was just supposed to answer phones and change the coffee pot, but I served like I was serving Jesus—even though it had nothing to do with being a mom—and they liked what they saw in me and kept adding to my responsibilities. I learned so much about bookkeeping and how to keep a small business running at Mark Hacker and Associates. I moved on to work for my church in the accounting department and learned the ins and outs of how mega church payables and receivables operate. Then I moved on to working for a family ministry and discovered how much I loved to brainstorm and collaborate in creative team meetings and a long-lost love for writing re-emerged. Finally, in 2008 I had my first baby.
While I was in the middle of that five-year wait to be super mom, God was putting the pieces of my God-story together behind the scenes. Three children and seven years later it was time for us to step out in faith and plant New Song Church, and I quickly began to realize that those five years that seemed like time-filler were actually very invaluable years. I would have been completely clueless on so many aspects of church planting, had it not been for those “waiting to be a mom” jobs. God used my waiting season to season me.
Wherever you find yourself today, waiting to plant a church, waiting to get into a permanent location, waiting to see the dream God’s placed in your heart come to life, waiting for more influence, waiting for your church to grow, or waiting to check something off your prayer list: know that God is at work behind the scenes.
If you purpose to win while you wait, to do whatever He’s placed in front of you to the best of your ability, this season won’t be a waste. God will use this season to season you, to prepare you, to grow you, and to launch you into being an important part of His rescue story.